Sergeant George Barstad

Sergeant George Barstad

Detroit Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Monday, June 25, 1928

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George Barstad

Sergeant George Barstad was shot and killed when he walked in on a robbery at the Detroit News business office at 615 W. Lafayette Blvd. at 11 a.m.

One of six men armed with sawed-off shotguns shot Sergeant Barstad as they held 100 news workers at bay while the cashier's cage was ransacked and $14,000 was stolen. All the suspects escaped at the time.

The suspect who killed Sergeant Barstad was the leader of the "Flathead Gang," responsible for hold-ups in various parts of the country. He boasted that he had killed as many as 26 men.

In 1927, the subject was convicted of the murder of a payroll guard he had killed in Pittsburgh on Dec. 23, 1925, and was sentenced to death. On Aug. 18, 1927, he and another death row inmate shot their way out of the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh. He and the gang were responsible for several hold-ups and murders (including Barstad's) from the time he escaped until Sept. 13, 1928, when he was recaptured after being shot and seriously wounded by police in a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. During his capture, he shot and fatally wounded Patrolman Anthony Wieczorek and Patrolman George E. Effinger of the Cleveland Police Department. The subject recovered from his wounds and was returned to Pennsylvania, where he was executed in the electric chair on Jan. 20, 1929.

Sgt. Barstad, who served on the police force for three years, died nearly three weeks after his shooting. He was survived by his sister and six brothers.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge 1802

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, June 6, 1928
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Executed in 1929


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No passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

June 25, 2020

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